Yoga’ -the very word radiates peace and tranquility. This feeling probably stems from the etymology of the word.
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yuga which essentially means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual self uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. Yoga is a means to achieving this goal.
Born in India, almost 26,000 years ago, Yoga is believed to have evolved during the period of the ‘Sat Yuga’, also called the Golden age. This period became known as a time of everlasting peace and abundant blessings, filled with seekers of the Eternal Truth. That is why, probably, even today we associate yoga tours with sages and hermits.
It was not until the discovery of the Indus- valley civilization, the largest civilization, that knowledge about the origin of Yoga surfaced. Excavations give evidence of yoga’s existence during this period; yogi -like figures engraved on soapstone seals have been unearthed. In fact, it was the Aryans, migrating from the north- west, who were instrumental in discovering yoga.
TYPES OF YOGA
Patanjali is regarded as a divine incarnation of the serpent Anantha, who is revered as the ‘supporter of the whole universe’. He is the Adhisesha of Lord Mahavishnu.
It is believed that on instructions from a great teacher, Patanjali identified all the teachings in the Vedas about the mind and presented them in a precise and organized form called ‘yoga’.
Patanjali’s yoga system aims to unite the individual self with the Supreme One. According to Patanjali, one can attain this union by controlling and eliminating the ever- arising ‘vrittis’ or modifications of the mind. He also suggests that the mind, in turn, can be controlled through the right kind of discipline and training.
Patanjali says that there are basic obstacles pervading the mind that are not conducive to yoga practice. He divides these obstacles into two groups:
1. Antarayas (intruders in the path of yoga)
2. Viksepasahabhuvah (co-existing with mental distraction)
ESSENCE OF YOGA
The true essence of Yoga revolves around elevating the life force or ‘Kundalini’ at the base of the spine. It aims to achieve this through a series of physical and mental exercises. At the physical level, the methods comprise various yoga postures or ‘asanas’ that aim to keep the body healthy. The mental techniques include breathing exercises or ‘pranayama’ and meditation or ‘dhyana’ to discipline the mind.
The ultimate goal of yoga is, however, to help the individual to transcend the self and attain enlightenment. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, “A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone.”
IMPORTANCE OF YOGA
Yoga is not a religion; it is a way of living whose aim is ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’.
Man is a physical, mental and spiritual being; yoga tours helps promote a balanced development of all the three. Other forms of physical exercises, like aerobics, assure only physical well-being. They have little to do with the development of the spiritual or astral body.
Yogic exercises recharge the body with cosmic energy This facilitates
s Attainment of perfect equilibrium and harmony
s Promotes self- healing.
s Removes negative blocks from the mind and toxins from the body
s Enhances Personal power
s Increases self-awareness
s Helps in attention focus and concentration, especially important for children
s Reduces stress and tension in the physical body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system
The aspirant feels rejuvenated and energized. Thus, Yoga bestows upon every aspirant the powers to control body and mind.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
The art of practicing yoga tours helps in controlling an individual mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind, it helps to manage stress and anxiety and keep you relaxing. It also helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone. It improved respiration, energy and vitality. Practicing yoga might seem like just stretching, but it can do much more for your body from the way you feel, look and move.